Writing World Newsletter Archive
Return to Newsletter Index · Home


                    W R I T I N G   W O R L D

A World of Writing Information - For Writers Around the World


Issue 15:04          13,300 subscribers         February 19, 2015
MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION: See the bottom of this newsletter for
details on how to subscribe, unsubscribe, or contact the editor.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: No material published in this newsletter may be
reprinted or posted without the consent of the author unless
otherwise noted. Unauthorized use is a copyright infringement.

     Feeling Like a Fraud
CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack     
     Levels of Structure in Fiction
     Interactive Marketing
Who Stumbled on the Secret of Making 6-Figures from Home as a
Writer! Click Here for Free Video
choose the best pricing method for the job, negotiate if the 
client balks, keep useful records, and more in the award-winning 
"What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers & Consultants." 
In print and ebook formats. http://tinyurl.com/obo5c2o 
A WRITER'S YEAR is the ONLY 365-day planner designed specifically
for writers! Plan your schedule, track billable hours, organize
tasks, and track your progress and achievements.  Each week brings
you an inspirational writing quote.  Best of all, it's F*R*E*E!
Download an electronic version in PDF or Excel, or access the print
edition: http://www.writing-world.com/store/year/index.shtml
readers) on your gift list?  Then check out the new line of "mugs 
for writers and readers" designed by Writing-World.com editor 
Moira Allen! Our gorgeous mugs (the kind you drink from, we mean) 
are designed especially for folks who love books -- who can't get 
enough books -- who can't stop writing books -- you know.  
Folks like you!  See our growing selection at 



Feeling Like a Fraud
"I wish I was a real author.  I truly do."  "I'm sure true authors
do not work like this."  "I still feel like a fraud."

Do you ever have thoughts like these?  Do you, in the dark of
night, whisper them to your pillow, or scrawl them in a locked
journal?  Do you occasionally confide them to other writers?  Have
you, perhaps, even whispered them (if e-mail can be said to
whisper) to me?

If so, you're probably assuming that the opening lines of this
editorial came from a writer much like yourself.  Probably, you're
thinking, some other reader has written to Your Intrepid Editor
with a question much like that which haunts your own thoughts: "Why
do I feel like such a fraud? When will I feel like a 'real'
writer?"  And, indeed, Your Intrepid Editor has read similar
statements in other writers' newsletters, blogs, and, yes, personal

But I did not stumble across those lines in the newsletter or blog
of a writer "much like myself" or, perhaps, "much like yourself." 
(OK, I'm making an assumption about YOU - I can only say with
confidence that this writer is, statistically speaking, not so much
like me.)  They did not arrive in a heartfelt e-mail from a
struggling writer seeking to affirm his or her identity.  

OK, enough suspense.  The person who wrote those lines was none
other than Terry Pratchett ("A Slip of the Keyboard").  Now, if you
already know the name, little more need be said.  If you do not -
Terry Pratchett is "currently the second most-read writer in the
UK, and seventh most-read non-US author in the US" (Wikipedia). 
He's actually SIR Terry Pratchett, having been knighted in 2009 for
"services to literature."  He has sold over 85 million books

Well, all right - even someone who goes on to sell 85 million books
and receive a knighthood for literature probably had doubts early
on, right?  Um, probably.  But Pratchett didn't write those lines
back in the early 1980's, when he might indeed have wondered
whether Discworld would "catch on."  He wrote them in 2004, when,
by his own estimation, he'd sold 45 to 50 million books (and was
already an OBE, if not yet a knight).  Yet he could still say, with
complete sincerity, that he felt like a fraud.

My first thought was that if, after 50 million books, Terry
Pratchett could feel like a fraud, what hope was there for the rest
of us?  For I do, indeed, hear many writers say the same thing -
including writers whose productivity makes me feel as if I must be
spending most of my days in a hammock sipping daiquiris.  So why DO
we (and I do mean "we") feel this way?

I'm sure therapists could have a field day with the question.  For
myself, however, I believe the feeling stems from two inter-related
causes that are common to nearly all serious writers.  

The first is an inborn love of books.  Chances are, you're a writer
because, first and foremost, you are, and have always been, a
reader.  You may not even remember a time when you didn't love
books.  Perhaps you can remember not only the books that meant the
most to you, but even where you were when you read them for the
first time!  I can still remember the first time I read Mary
Stewart's "The Hollow Hills," or E. Nesbit's "The Railway
Children," or Tolkien's "The Hobbit," or the way my sister and I
practically fought over the right to be the first to read the
latest James Herriott.  More importantly, I can still remember the
feelings of wonder and amazement and - for lack of a better word -
EXPANSION - that these books evoked.  Reading was sheer magic.  If
you know what I'm talking about, I don't need to explain it; if you
don't, there's no way that I CAN explain it.

The authors of such books seemed to me, and I suspect to many of
us, to be scarcely less than gods.  How could mere mortals create
such worlds, such magic, such wonder?  Books took us by the hand
and led us places we had never gone or even imagined, opened our
minds to ideas that we could never have conceived alone.  They
didn't simply change our lives; they molded our lives.  

As we took our own first fledgling steps as "writers," that view of
"authors" as distant, godlike beings with amazing powers never left
us.  We might, if we were lucky, MEET the "greats," and perhaps
gain an autograph, but live and walk amongst them?  Hardly! "Real"
writers, "real" authors existed in some distant galaxy.  They were
not common clay like us.  

Herein lies the first problem.  Think for a moment about the book
that meant the most to you at some point in your life, a book that
you'll always keep on your shelf - perhaps a book you don't even
need to read anymore because you have it stored in your heart. 
Think for a moment what it meant to you and why.  Now... Imagine
yourself being the AUTHOR of that book.  Imagine that it was YOU
who created those words, those worlds - you who made such a
difference in the lives of your readers.

Not so easy to do, is it?

Now for the second root.  Because we admire "real" authors so much,
most of us have sought avidly for any bits of advice, nuggets of
information, or pearls of wisdom that such authors might cast in
the paths of humble would-be writers like ourselves.  And many
authors DO like to dispense advice.  This one write out scenes on
3x5 cards.  That one gets up at 5 a.m. every morning and writes 500
words before breakfast.  Another has a rule of writing a certain
number of words every day, no matter what.  One keeps a dream
journal; another carries a tape recorder everywhere.  Over time, we
build up a mental picture of what "real" writers DO - and what,
perhaps, we DON'T.  

Meanwhile, we go through life acting like everyday humans -
scratching, sneezing, scooping the cat litter, and, quite often,
writing stuff that makes us think perhaps we would have been better
suited for a high-tech career in ditch-digging.  Whatever we do, we
know we're NOTHING like the idols who shaped our lives through the
books we adored.  And if we're nothing like them, how can we be
"real" writers?  

Of course, there are plenty of would-be writers who don't share
these feelings of angst in the least.  There are those who have
scarcely read a book, and pay little heed to the advice offered by
"experts."  They are also, quite often, those who pay little heed
to such trivial matters as grammar, punctuation, spelling or plot -
but as they often point out, that's what editors are for!  Based on
some of the e-mails I receive, however, such writers have no
difficulty convincing themselves that they are "real" writers
(their main complaint generally being that they haven't, thus far,
been able to convince anyone ELSE).

If my theory is correct, then, what gets in the way of "feeling"
like a "real writer" is a lifetime of being a "real reader."  It's
the avid, "don't stand between me and a book" reader who harbors
these impressions of authors as being larger than life, impossibly
greater than thee and me.  But notice that I used the word
"feeling" in that opening sentence.  Being a "real reader" may,
indeed, help keep one from "feeling" like a "real writer." It
doesn't prevent one from actually BEING one.  

If Terry Pratchett can sell 85 million books and get knighted
without feeling like a "real" writer, then it seems to me that
perhaps I don't have much to worry about.  "Just get on with it," I
suspect he'd say.  In fact, it's rather liberating to realize that,
at the end of the day, I don't actually HAVE to "feel" like a "real
writer" at all.  It doesn't matter.  Because Pratchett has taught
me one more thing about "real" writers: 

REAL writers, quite often, feel like frauds!

-- Moira Allen, Editor

Copyright 2015 Moira Allen

This article may be reprinted provided the author's byline, bio and
copyright notice are retained. (For an author bio and complete
details on reprint terms, please visit 

Link to this article here:

HELP WANTED! I have a small job here at Writing-World.com that I'd
really appreciate finding someone to help out with. I want to set
up a pull-down tab menu navigation system.  I've been reading
instructions for same and I'm sure in time, I'd be able to figure
it out - but if there's someone out there for whom this is a
five-minute finagle, and who'd like to contribute a few moments to
Writing-World.com, please contact me! (editors@writing-world.com)

THE FEBRUARY ISSUE OF VICTORIAN TIMES is now available! This month,
get a special peek at Victorian valentines, read more of E.
Nesbit's childhood reminiscences, discover curious "house-mottoes,"
and find out first-hand what it was like to be a working girl in
the Victorian shop or factory. Plus loads of recipes, household
hints and more.   
Visit http://www.VictorianVoices.net/VT/issues/VT-1502.shtml to
download the free electronic edition or access the print edition.

Stop struggling to come up with a fantastic title for your book 
STORY TITLES. Make your title stand out, determine genre specifics, 
learn what to avoid, and much, much more. Available at:  


Twitter Fiction Festival
Lemony Snicket, Margaret Atwood, and Jackie Collins are just a few
of the authors slated to participate in the Twitter Fiction
Festival, which will take place May 11-15.  The authors will have
time slots in which to share text, photos and videos.  Aspiring
writers are also invited to join in; a Twitter fiction competition
kicks off on March 2, and the winners will be tweeting their
fiction right alongside the established authors.  Find out more at

Author Seeks to Revive Cursive Writing
Schools are increasingly dropping the teaching of cursive
handwriting from the curriculum as being "irrelevant" in this age
of texting and keyboarding.  However, research is showing that the
ability to write in cursive has benefits that go beyond just being
able to sign one's name (something some students today may not even
be able to do!).  In Psychology Today, Dr. William Klemm points out
that "In the case of learning cursive writing, the brain develops
functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement
control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple
areas of brain become co-activated during the learning of cursive
writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual
practice."  Now author Linda Shrewsbury is raising money in a
Kickstarter campaign to fund an easy cursive workbook and a
campaign to restore the teaching of cursive.  Find out more about
the Kickstarter campaign here: http://tinyurl.com/o744flb
Read Klemm's article here: http://tinyurl.com/qzoorq5

Yet Another Newly Discovered Seuss Book to Be Published
Yet another unpublished book by Theodor Seuss Geisel ("Dr. Seuss")
was discovered by his widow in 2013.  The new book, "What Pet
Should I Get?" will be published by Random House Children's Books
on July 28.  The book features characters who appeared in the
classic "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."  For more
information, visit http://tinyurl.com/n4omtks

WritingCareer.com is a free online resource to find paying markets
for your poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Updated daily, we report
on current needs of editors and publishers who are open for
submissions, pay competitive rates, and do not charge reading fees.

CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION: Levels of Structure in Fiction
by Victoria Grossack


Writers need to be aware of their writing at many different levels.
 I'm not talking just about the story and the characters, but the
different structural elements of their work.  Writing can be
examined word by word, rather like a tree approach, or it can be
viewed globally -- that is to say, the level that is more like the

This column describes the different levels of structure that should
be considered and mastered by the writer.  Each level provides
different opportunities and pitfalls.  We will go from the lowest
level to the highest, and give a few thoughts describing each. 

WORDS. Words are an obvious element of structure for the writer. 
First of all, the writer needs to know the precise meanings of
words.  I once read a sample where someone wrote: "He rumbled his
brow."  Given the rest of the writing, I don't think this was a
typo, but a misunderstanding of the language; the author did not
know the difference between RUMPLED and RUMBLED.

Knowing the meanings of words is the first requirement, but you
should understand more about the words you use for your books. 
Words have fascinating origins: embedded in them is a history of
the development of the English language.  We can go back to 1066 AD
and the time of the Norman invasion, when French-speaking invaders
conquered the Saxons, who spoke a Germanic variant.  From our
language today, you can tell who was inside, dining on good meats,
and who was stuck laboring in the fields. For example: PORK
resembles the French word PORC, which means pig.  But what is the
word for the poor fellow minding the pigs?  SWINEHERD, which is
very similar to the German word, SCHWEINHIRTE. 

Some words are considered vulgar, some words may be too difficult
for your readers, while others may be too easy.  Some words are
associated with particular periods of time: GROOVY. Some you can
use frequently, because they are common and the reader is not
struck by them, such as THE, SAID, and IT.  Others are uncommon and
must be used sparingly, or their repetition will jolt the reader
out of your story and back into the real world.  For example, you
would not want to use the word FLABBERGASTED repeatedly, would you?
 The meaning of others have changed over time: GAY means one thing
now and meant another a century ago.

PHRASES.  Phrases are somewhere between words and sentences, but
they still deserve your attention.  Phrases can illustrate how your
characters think, and can demonstrate metaphors that belong to your
character's way of life.  For example, Augustus Caesar used to say
"as quick as boiled asparagus" when he meant something would be
done speedily.  Phrases follow many of the same rules as words, in
that you don't want to repeat the uncommon ones too often.

SENTENCES.  Much can be written -- in fact, has been written -- on
the art of writing sentences.  You need, of course, to have a firm
command of the rules that govern sentences, so you know what is
acceptable and what is not.  Beyond that, the options are numerous.
 Long sentences slow down the reader and the story, which may be
good occasionally; shorter ones speed things up.  Varying your
sentence structure is also good, to avoid a monotonous beat in your

PARAGRAPHS.  A paragraph usually contains one or more sentences.  I
believe paragraphs are often not given enough attention by writers
when they're editing.  The sentences within a paragraph need to be
organized logically, supplying your readers what they need to know,
in the correct order. 

To help you better understand paragraphs, let me refer you to
Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style," from section 13: "If
the subject on which you are writing is of slight extent, or if you
intend to treat it briefly, there may be no need to divide it into
topics.  Ordinarily, however, a subject requires division into
topics, each of which should be dealt with in a paragraph.  The
object of treating each topic in a paragraph by itself is, of
course, to aid the reader."

SCENES.  A scene is usually composed of several paragraphs, and
serves to show some piece of action or reaction on the part of your
story and your characters.  Again, there are numerous books and
articles that describe how to write scenes, including setting the
scene, build-up, and the climax.

CHAPTERS.  Breaking from one chapter to the next often includes a
change of scene.  In fact, some writers choose now to put only one
scene in each chapter, which often makes for many, many very short
chapters.  These books don't usually end up on my list of
favorites, as the writing seems too choppy, but some of them make
the bestseller lists anyway, so one scene per chapter is an

What if you prefer to have more than one scene per chapter?  How do
you decide which scenes go into a chapter, and when the chapter
should break?

Scenes that contribute to a single event in your book may be
grouped together for a chapter.  A chapter break implies a greater
shift in your story than is implied by just a shift in scene. 

You may have greater goals for your chapters.  One goal might be to
have them all be about the same in size and scope, which helps your
readers relax into a rhythm.  I confess to writing cliff-hangers at
the end of most of mine, although I occasionally mete out mercy and
conclude a chapter on a less dramatic moment.

BOOKS.  Books are organized into chapters, and when you look at the
chapters of your novel, the structure of how you have told the
story should be obvious to you.  Are you giving enough time and
space to the events that matter?  Is there a pattern to the book? 
For example, in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," Mr. Darcy's
first proposal takes place at a point which, at least in my
edition, is exactly halfway through the book's pages.

SERIES.  Perhaps your ambitions are great, and you want to write
not just one book, but several that are related to each other. 
Some of the same issues apply: how do they relate to each other? 
Should they be similar or should they be different?  Do they stand
alone or must they be read together?

OTHER LITERATURE.  You may think about how your books relate to
each other, but have you also considered how they relate to other
pieces of literature?  After all, even if you are not creating the
other pieces of literature, your readers are presumably reading
other books than those written by you.  That means that when they
read your book, they will be influenced by their reading
experiences with other novels.

There are many ways you can analyze how your works fit in with
other pieces of literature.  Perhaps you are writing genre fiction
-- for example, cozy mysteries.  Will your mysteries satisfy the
readers of that genre?  You can analyze your work in a competitive
way: is it better or worse than other contenders in the field?  Or
you can view your writing as complementary, or even as part of a
conversation.  I consider my novel, "Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of
Oedipus," as a 3000-year-overdue reply to Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex." 

Writing, of course, can be analyzed in other ways as well, for
there are many ways to study structure.  What I have described is a
vertical approach, starting from the least with meaning -- words,
and moving up to your book's or series' place in the universe of
literature.  I have given only a short description of some the
issues at each level; many more exist.  Being aware of these
different levels, and having some mastery of them, can benefit your
writing immensely.


Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English Literature
at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and articles in
such publications as Contingencies, Women's World and I Love Cats.
She is the author of Crafting Fabulous Fiction, a step-by-step
guide to developing and polishing novels and short stories that
includes many of her beloved columns. With Alice Underwood, she
co-authors the Tapestry of Bronze series (including Jocasta,
Mother-Wife of Oedipus; The Children of Tantalus; and Antigone &
Creon), based on Greek myths and set in the late Bronze Age. Her
independent novels include The Highbury Murders, in which she does
her best to channel the spirits and styles of Jane Austen and
Agatha Christie, and Academic Assassination (A Zofia Martin
Mystery). Victoria is married with kids, and (though American)
spends much of her time in Europe. Her hobbies include gardening,
hiking, bird-watching and tutoring mathematics. Visit her website
at http://www.tapestryofbronze.com, or contact her at tapestry (at)
tapestryofbronze (dot) com. 


Copyright 2015 Victoria Grossack 

This article may not be reprinted or posted without the written
permission of the author.

Link to this article here: 

Related Articles on Writing-World.com:
Chatting About Chapters, by Victoria Grossack

Want to learn more about crafting fabulous fiction? Get one-on-one
guidance with Victoria Grossack's personal writing class; visit

struggle to keep your butt in the chair? Contact me through my 
website and let me know what's got you down; we'll brainstorm a 
way forward with a coaching regimen designed just for you!
Victoria-Lynn Winning, Writing Coach - http://vlawinning.ca 


The Writer's Monthly Review Magazine
The Writer's Monthly Review Magazine seeks " how-to's dealing with
rejection, articles dealing with manuscript format, articles
dealing with everyday life of a writer, conference and workshop
news, dealing with editors... you get the picture. If anyone has
market news or updates please send those to me as soon as possible.
I would also like to see inspirational articles for each issue 
keep the length between 500 and 2000 words." Deadline for
submissions is the 25th of each month.  Pay is $5 to $10 depending
on length. " Please, please put your name, address and email on
each manuscript and shortly following each article add a short bio.
Manuscripts will not be read if they don't have names, etc."  For
more information, visit http://www.writersmonthlyreview.com or
contact editor/publisher Marcella Simmons at marcies004@yahoo.com

in a 14-part 'mini course' in short story writing success. This
highly acclaimed Writers' Village 'Master Class' shows you how to
get published - profitably - plus win cash prizes in fiction
awards. Discover how to open a chapter with 'wow' impact, add new
energy to a scene, build a character in moments, sustain
page-turning suspense even through long passages of exposition...
plus 97 additional powerful ideas you can use at once. Enjoy the
course without charge now at: 


The Punctuation Guide
This easy-to-use site provides guidelines on every aspect of
American punctuation.  (Note that British punctuation can be
different...)  Just click on a punctuation mark to find the rules
and excellent examples on how to use it correctly!

How to Become a Translator
An in-depth, illustrated guide on how to become a translator, with
tons of tips, tricks and suggestions from people in the industry.
It's written primarily for a UK audience with respect to pay rates
- but it looks extremely useful.

Advice to Writers
This blog, hosted by Jon Winokur, pulls together useful quotes from
writers throughout the ages - whose advice generally tends to be as
spot-on today as it was... whenever....


EVERY WRITER NEEDS A HOLIDAY!  "The Writer's Guide to Holidays, 
Observances and Awareness Dates" offers 1800 events worldwide --
Instant inspiration for those days when you can't think of anything
to write about!  Holiday topics are a favorite of editors, so fuel
your inspiration and jumpstart your articles today!  Available in 
print and Kindle editions; for more information visit


FREE STUFF FOR WRITERS: Interactive Marketing
By Aline Lechaye


These days, advances in technology have made it possible for
writers to interact with readers in many different ways. Social
media sites such as Twitter or Facebook allow us to instantly
contact and be contacted by our audience (opinion is split on
whether or not this is a good thing). The invention of e-books has
greatly lowered production costs and book prices, as well as
changing the way publishing works. The existence of the Internet
means that anything you post online can be seen by millions of
people worldwide in a matter of minutes. 

These changes have in turn changed the way books (and other written
content) are marketed. Readers nowadays expect constant updates,
meaning that you, the author, are faced with the burden of having
to constantly provide new information about yourself and your books
to retain reader interest. Read on for some quick and easy ways to
interact with your readers via technology. 

Should the villain of your series meet a happy or sad ending? What
should the name of your new character be? Were readers shocked by
the surprise twist at the end of your book? Get reader feedback by
embedding a poll on your website or blog or social media page.
PollMaker (http://www.poll-maker.com/) is a simple web-based poll
creator: all you have to do is type in a question and several
answers, choose your theme, and then click "Get Poll Now". Advanced
options include setting a time when your poll becomes open for
voting, choosing whether or not voters can comment or view results
of the poll, and randomizing the order of your answers for better
polling results. Generated polls can be embedded to social media
sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, and Tumblr. 

Personality quizzes (for example, a "Which character are you?" type
of quiz) are a fun and quick way to add relevant content about your
book on your website. Quibblo (http://www.quibblo.com) is a good
free site for creating these, and your quizzes can easily be
embedded to your website, blog, or social media site. Quibblo also
lets you create scored quizzes (where there is one right answer to
the question), so you can easily make a "How well do you know...?"
type of quiz as well. 

Create a virtual tour of the locations in your book using ZeeMaps
(https://www.zeemaps.com). They use Google Maps as their interface,
so even first-time users shouldn't find the site too hard to use.
You can add notes, images, audio, or YouTube links to a location.
Multiple locations can be added using a spreadsheet (location data
can be copied and pasted, uploaded from your computer, or imported
from Google Drive). Once you're done creating your virtual tour,
you can embed it directly to your website or simply use the "Share
link/URL option" to obtain a shortened URL of the map. You don't
have to register or sign in to use the web-based site (although you
can create an account if you want to). For non-registered users,
ZeeMaps has a handy feature that allows you to add an admin
password to your map. 


Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who
resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye at gmail.com


Copyright 2015 Aline Lechaye 

This article may not be reprinted without the written permission 
of the author. 


on how to reach more than 100,000 writers a month with your 
product, service or book title, visit


Writing World is a publication of Writing-World.com

Readers are welcome to forward this newsletter by e-mail IN ITS
ENTIRETY. This newsletter may not be reposted or republished in
any form, online or in print, nor may individual articles be 
published or posted without the written permission of the author
unless otherwise indicated.

Editor and Publisher: MOIRA ALLEN (editors"at"writing-world.com) 

Copyright 2015 Moira Allen

Copyright © 2017 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.
All materials on this site are the property of their authors
and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission,
unless otherwise indicated.
For more information please contact Moira Allen, Editor